Today's "tool" has been somewhat critical in the success of this year's gardening, planting, and entertaining endeavors. No, I'm not talking about an axe, shovel, or some other sort of gardening accessory, I'm actually talking about a tool that's primary purpose is for entertainment. The tool I'm talking about is actually our outdoor wireless speaker system.
Last summer we were filmed for a brief segment on DIY Network's show, "I Want That." Back when we wrote our post about the show we couldn't specifically talk about the main item they were filming at our house, but since the show has now aired (actually, it aired back in December) we can blab all about the product.
The devices we reviewed were actually outdoor wireless speakers from Audiovox Acoustic Research. Here's a video of the show as it originally aired. But before you watch, be warned, we are definitely more "bloggers" than we are "television personalities." Our strengths lay far more on the writer/website side of things.
Ok, I hope you weren't too scared off my odd and nasally dialogue, ginormous ears, and inopportune crotch shot. At least Lulu looked good and got some screen time. She and Mel are the actual stars of our family, that's for sure.
Anyhow, we've touched on the speakers we Installed for the show a few times in the past, but we've never really spoken about them in depth.
For years we wanted speakers outside, but we've always had the challenge of needing to run wires from the speakers to the basement or family room. Given the length of wire needed, and the number of rooms we had to run through, it just wasn't really possible. A few years ago we installed a nice whole house audio system that gave us wonderful music throughout the interior of our house, but we were unfortunately without any tunes when we were spending time outside.
I tried several different approaches to alleviate this lack of music, including turning the volume up inside, using small iPod speakers, and even asking Wendy to sing. Though she doesn't have a bad voice, when I wanted to hear the latest from Mumford & Sons or Flo Rida, she really left something to be desired.
I began looking into wireless speakers and found that the pair we ended up with were given consistently wonderful reviews and rave comments by Amazon users. When I was almost to the point of deciding on the specific speakers we wanted, the DIY Network contacted us about the show and I shared my interest in the speakers. The end result, they liked the useful technology feel and novice user installation ability, and they were able to secure speakers for us for the show. Score!!!
Setup of the speakers were straight forward and easy. I had no problem configuring them to play from our stereo for the show, and then changed the configuration to run off of our whole house audio a few weeks later. All you really need to do is to plug the transmitter into RCA or headphone line out and then turn the music and speakers on. Bam, music anywhere.
Since configuring the speakers, we've really had a great time with them. From background music while entertaining to listening to a Nationals game while laying in the hammock on a warm spring weekend afternoon, having the ability to bring the speakers outside and turn on some tunes has made our backyard space far more functional and enjoyable.
Unlike many similar devices, these speakers are actually quite attractive and sturdy. The exterior actually looks like a craftsman style lantern and blends in quite nicely with our garden.
We've had several people come over for dinner or drinks that have asked where our music is coming from. The tend to blend so nicely that you just sort of overlook them.
Power comes from either a plugin transformer if you have a plug nearby, or via six AA batteries. Last summer we ran them from batteries and one set lasted for the duration of the summer. Luckily through we have outlets near the speaker locations, so it's just easier to plug them in.
But why am I talking about these speakers as a "tool"? Simple! Music makes a job go faster. Since these speakers are weather resistant, outdoor, and wireless, you can turn on your music at the source and then tote these speakers from room to room giving yourself endless tunes. Perfect if your painting, working on a craft project, or in our case, working to plant flowers or vegetables.
Pair these speakers with a Sonos Internet music device and you'll end up streaming music in any room of the house that can be easily controlled with your iPhone or Android device. Not too shabby.
The range of the transmitter is pretty good. We've noticed occasional static at about 40 feet, but overall performance has been pretty solid. The speakers have independent volume controls and bass boost, and a little blue light on the front of the speaker lets you know when it's on.
I know a lot of people want outdoor music but can't easily run wires. If you've been looking for a good and easy way to get music in your outdoor space, these might be the perfect speakers for you. And if you want a little more versatility, Acoustic Research offers another version of the speakers that have a small light built into it. The only difference is that this one is hard wired and doesn't need a transformer.
Do you have any similar experience with outdoor wireless speakers you can share? Perhaps a brand that's worked well for you? Or maybe you've been searching high and low and these will be perfect? Let us know what you think. You know we always love to hear about your experiences.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Want to learn more about our first-hand experiences with other tools, devices or items used throughout our renovation? If so, check out our complete list of product reviews in our Toolbox Tuesday section.
Note: We weren't paid for this review. We simply want to share good products when we see them, and hope that learning from our mistakes can help save you time, money and frustration.
Don't forget to stop back later today, as we announce the winner of the $100 gift certificate to The Home Depot. Will it be you?